How have churches been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, and how are they responding to these difficult times?
In the latest issue of the United Reformed Church’s (URC) Reform magazine, four ministers address this question.
Here’s an extract:
“We are very fortunate in Augustine United Church, Edinburgh, that there are less than a handful of people who are not on the internet, so communication is relatively simple. This means that we have already been thinking for a couple of years about how to further enable our community virtually as well as physically, but there had not been a hard impetus to do so, until now,” says the Revd Fiona Bennett is Minister of Augustine United Church in Edinburgh.
“Some of us have been here before,” explains the Revd Andy Braunston who ministers with four URC congregations in and around Glasgow. “I remember being involved with a radical congregation where we marched with a banner proclaiming ‘the Body of Christ has Aids’ to draw attention to the fact that HIV and Aids affected the Church and wasn’t something ‘out there’. I remember much of my early years in ministry were as much concerned with public health as they were with preaching. In fact, to preach about public health, personal responsibility and loving oneself enough to protect oneself were key aspects of the Gospel preached to a hurting, scared and marginalised community.”
The Revd Jenny Mills, Minister of Newport Pagnell United Reformed Church and West End United Church, Wolverton, Buckinghamshire, reflects: “My pulpit on a Sunday morning has become the local town, as I walk around to deliver service orders to those who are unable to access our service online as I walk around to deliver service orders to those who are unable to access our service online.”
She continues: “I have begun filming myself leading worship (one take, no editing). I send out the YouTube link and transcript, along with Roots material for all ages, the URC worship links and anything else (including photos of people’s weeks) on Saturday evening and post the service on Facebook. When people wake up on Sunday, it is there.”
The Revd Mark Robinson, Minister for the South West Hants Group of URCs, adds: “A major part of our Christian faith has been built on relationships, community and breaking bread — together. That is part of what has defined us as church and how we have done God’s work. We have now been presented with an opportunity to look for new ways to organise this work.”
Read more of this article here.
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Images: The Revd Fiona Bennet, first, The Revd Andy Braunston, second, the Revd Jenny Mills, third, and the Revd Mark Robinson, fourth.
Published: 19 May 2020